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Kimi ni Todoke: From Me to You, Vol. 2 (Premium Edition)
Kimi ni todoke (From Me to You) is absolutely one of the best anime series that I have been lucky enough to see over the past several years. It is one of the best romance anime series that I have ever seen altogether and it has the kind of emotional power to give viewers the butterflies that other shows are never quite capable of delivering to the following audience. Simply put: If you enjoy anime and consider the craft a genuine art form this is one of the series you must see at one point or another. This is an essential romance series which has enough wonderful characters and animation to satisfy even the most critical of anime fans.
The story setup isn't that complex (at least in theory). We are introduced to a high school girl named Sawako Kuronuma. Almost everyone at the school calls her Sadako (otherwise known as that creepy girl with long black hair from the popular Ringu film series). This sort of suggests that some of the other students consider her creepy and are convinced that she is capable of communicating with ghosts. Yet this doesn't ring true of Sawako at all. Nothing about the sweet-natured, good hearted and charming Sawako is reminiscent of that creepy nightmare-inducing horror movie icon. Sawako is one of the most gentle and good-natured anime characters I have ever witnessed in the art-form. She is pure of heart and incredibly feminine too.The series begins by giving us some backstory on Sawako's character and then thrusts us into one of the main elements of the entire storyline. This is a romance show with one of those "generally unspoken" connections between two of the characters. Sawako has an unmistakable crush on one of the most popular boys in the school. Shota Kazehaya was Sawako's crush for a long time but she is only just now starting to understand her own feeling towards him. Likewise... it turns out that there might have already been a good connection between the pair that simply wasn't understood before. As viewers, we are quickly aware that these characters would make a perfect couple but one of the things creating the drama and conflict is that the characters don't seem to understand how to express their complete feelings to one another and it makes the romantic-journey one consisting of bumps along the road.
Shota Kazehaya is an incredibly nice-guy. It's interesting that Sawako frequently says a comment or two about wanting to be like him someday when she is essentially the same sort of person - only with a different gender differentiating the two like-minded, beautiful, and compassionate minds. Both care deeply about others and are social-beings. Well... the matter still remains that Kazehaya is superbly outgoing and Sawako is more reserved with others. That doesn't change much. Sawako just needed a little time before befriending a duo of slightly-more-rambunctious sweeties that go by the names Chizu and Yano-chin. These girls are the best of friends before meeting Sawako but it isn't long before these friendships become intertwined and one of the enjoyments of the series is to watch the progression of Sawako leaving her more solemn shell behind to become so close to the other kind-natured classmates around her daily.
There is no doubt that this is essentially a slice-of-life series with a heavy romantic and comedic element. It's beautifully romantic in a way that is sadly uncommon but this is something which makes the show stand out even more as a wonderful artistic creation. There were so many moments where I felt pulled into the world of these characters in astonishing ways. It was a joy to simply be able to discover such a beautiful, romantic, moving, and entertaining piece of art.
The series has left quite the impression on me. The animation is unbelievably good. It doesn't falter at any point during the show. The character designs were distinctive and memorable. The background artwork is remarkably detailed: you can see the immense effort that the animators put forth into this production in the sunlight on the trees or in the detail on the school environments. Each scene seems to have some remarkable poetic and romantic imagery that captures the tone of the series ridiculously well. I was awestruck by the beauty of Kimi ni todoke in every scene.
There is so much genuine emotion. The combination of the direction and writing makes for one massively powerful double-whammy of artistic excellence. It's unsurprising that this is such a gigantic success in Japan and that the original manga series was so popular as well. There aren't many series that can entirely claim to have excellence in almost every area of production. Who can dismiss such beautiful animation, emotive storytelling, fun characters, and the wonderful heart at the core of it all? It's authentic in the best possible way. It has the ability to remind us of how moving a romantic anime series can be when made with a authentic voice. It's as the title suggests. "From Me to You" is from the heart and it was a series made especially for you.
The Collection (Volume 2 Premium Edition, Episodes 13-25):
Kimi Ni Todoke had such an impressive first collection release that I was curious to see where the series would go to in the second volume, and having now seen these episodes I can gladly state that this is shaping up to be one of my favorite anime series ever. The characters, music, animation, and storytelling is so majestic, beautiful, and compelling in each episode that the series seems to transport me to new meaningful places each time I take a journey with this fantastic show.
Plot-wise, the series began to seem to be heading towards an inevitable path of romance in blossom between the two central characters, Sawako and Shota, and this is built upon with volume two. The romance is still somewhat restrained and growing but it's more charming, comparatively, than any other anime series I have seen in years. Fans expecting perfection relating to the romantic aspects of the plotline will have to remain somewhat more patient because things take their time on this series but that shouldn't detract from enjoying in an ultimately butterfly-inducing series.
The supporting cast of characters receives even greater character development in this part, especially Sawako's closest friends Chizuru and Ayane, who are both better developed as characters. You begin to gain a more thorough understanding of their personalities and in unsurprising ways this development of plot and character inevitably leads to some deeper, perhaps even more thorough romantic elements. The unspoken "brotherly" like relations between Ryu and Chizuru is especially given some thought and a revelation is made that, shockingly, Chizuru has a crush on Ryu's older brother Toru. This was a development in storytelling that I never saw coming for a moment and it led to some good opportunities, especially for the writers, to have these characters be analyzed in their relationship status.
Not all is peachy-keen for the brewing romance between Sawako and Sota either though, because fellow school-girl Ume Kurumizawa has her eyes set upon Sota herself and she's determined to do anything she has to do to earn his affection. This plot-line had some quite comical and ultimately tender moments behind it and it led to an even clearer understanding regarding the various characters affections.
This anime has romance written all over it. It practically oozes out romantic moments in each and every frame of all of these episodes. Having said that, volume two is even better in some ways than its predecessor was and I truly think this is shaping out to be one of the greatest in history regarding animated romantic series or films. You grow to care about the characters, I firmly believe this takes precedence on this show above anything else, and this is what has to matter the most to have the relationships between the characters matter at all. And they do in unbelievably consistent ways matter to me and to the audience because the storytelling is the purest I've seen in years.
If that aspect of genuine romance wasn't enough, consider the breathtaking artwork. This is easily one of the best looking anime series made recently, and I often find myself in wonder, considering how much time and effort it surely must have taken for the staff to bring together detailed layouts, character designs, and elements as visually stunning as what we have found here. It feels impossible to not be transported by the art. I literally cannot even begin to fully understand how much genuine artists it took to deliver the animation on Kimi Ni Todoke; no words properly describe the impact it has in each frame.
Everyone who enjoys a well-told romance and animation that is pure artistry will find some worthwhile aspects with this soon-to-be anime classic Kimi Ni Todoke. It doesn't matter if viewers are men or women, boys or girls, because this show is made for everyone with an interest in well-done anime series with a solid heart and a pure soul. I love every moment.
Kimi ni todoke, Vol. 2 Premium Edition contains episodes 13-25, along with collector's packaging and an art-book entitled "Our Memories".
Please Note: The images featured in this review are from the DVD editions in this Blu-ray/DVD combo release.
This was a stunning presentation. NIS America has released one of the most gorgeous looking anime series onto Blu-ray disc. The series is presented with the proper 1.78:1 aspect ratio and with AVC MPEG-4 encoded 1080p picture. It is difficult to imagine a reaction to the beautiful animation being anything less than completely stunned. What amazing presentation. It left me feeling speechless and completely absorbed in the incredible artwork. The colors seem so well saturated and accurate while the line detail is also surprisingly strong. The clarity of the image won't disappoint fans hoping for a solid presentation. Everything about the PQ is remarkable.
Audio:The audio is as impressive as the video is on this release. After hearing a lossless uncompressed PCM presentation for the 2.0 audio mix, I doubt many will find issues with the quality included. These episodes have amazing aural clarity and the dialogue and music are reproduced with such a high-end quality that it is one of the best non-surround audio tracks I have heard in anime. The high-resolution Blu-ray audio format was entirely well utilized. The audio has been presented in Japanese with optional English subtitles.
The only on-disc extras are closing opening/ending themes and trailers for other NIS America anime releases. Both OP/ED songs add an excellent element to the show and are worth seeing without the credit overlay. The opening is by Tomofumi Tanizawa and the ending is by Chara.
The packaging feels like an extra, and is as consistently amazing as the other Kimi ni Todoke release and other NIS America products. The series is packaged in a stunning over-sized box with artwork on either side of the package.
Kimi ni Todoke has been included on both Blu-ray and DVD discs in two slim-line DVD cases. There is a large art-book with some illustrations and character dialogue. It's not that in-depth, I actually thought this second volume was inferior in the art-book department compared to what was included on volume one. I loved getting to look at some of the lush animation on paper, it seems worthwhile for that, but I could have used a full episode guide or staff interviews. This release seemed a bit too "fluffy" for my tastes but it's still a neat addition that over-shines the output typically found on anime releases in North America.
Kimi ni todoke may move at too slow a pace for some impatient viewers, but for those who are willing to go on a nicely-paced slow-build romantic journey this is one of the most meaningful romantic dramas I have ever seen in anime history. You will love these characters and want to continue to take a journey along with them. Nothing gets much better than that. Combine with absolutely breathtaking animation, stunning PQ/AQ, and fancy packaging and a purchase does seem to be a must for anime collectors. Highly Recommended.
Neil Lumbard is a lifelong fan of cinema. He aspires to make movies and has written two screenplays on spec. He loves writing, and currently does in Texas.